[Web-SIG] Standardized template API

Michael Bayer mike_mp at zzzcomputing.com
Wed Feb 1 08:03:12 CET 2006

do either of these specs address the concept of componentized  
templates ?  that is, when you are referencing a template, compiling  
its output, and delivering its textual output, in reality that  
template would consist of possibly dozens of smaller sub-templates,  
to form different parts of the page, and also to form various nesting  
schemes.  In myghty, the resolver stack, i.e. the thing that takes  
some kind of string, runs it through some rules (which can be a  
straight down list or a whole structure of conditionals and groups),  
and produces a template object (actually called a component), is not  
used only for handling the initial URL from an HTTP request.  It is  
used entirely within the request for every sub-component, nested- 
template, subrequest, template inheritance scheme, what-have-you, so  
that a single request actually calls a lot of templates which call  
each other, all using the same resolver stack to find things.  Extra  
contextual information can also be passed to the resolver to give it  
more things with which to make decisions; such as the "context",  
which can say "im the top-level request calling you", "im a sub- 
component calling you", "im your super-(inherited) parent calling  
you", etc.   Information about the resolved component is available as  
well, such as getting back the re.Match object that resulted from a  
regexp call, or other parameters that indicate things about the  
resolver rule that actually matched.   All of that stuff is important.

A cross-template resolution/execution API introduces the concept of  
one kind of template including snips from other kinds of templates,  
or someone using a template-inheritance-enabled system to enable that  
capability for a system that doesnt have that feature, etc.   So it  
would be nice if this system could support that use case, and not  
just be request-oriented.

When I first wrote WSGI support for Myghty and saw what Ian was doing  
with Paste, I thought, wow, why dont I take my component model and  
make them all into little WSGI application() objects...but in  
reality, for those sub-templates, the typical HTTP request/response  
as well as the start_response doesnt really seem appropriate,  
especially for the kinds of interactions those components have with  
each other, such as intricate wrapping schemes, iterative patterns.   
Also i dont believe any templating system should ever be hardcoded to  
an "HTTP request" concept....too many places have we had JSP or PHP  
sites that hit a brick wall when we want to use the same templates to  
pre-generate files, or emails, etc. because those systems have no  
notion of non-HTTP usage.

Forgive my rambling, I havent gotten to dig deeply into Ian's spec  
and I'm still trying to get an idea of what the more encompassing  
spec is about  (like what is template polymorphism exactly ?)

- mike

On Feb 1, 2006, at 12:22 AM, Phillip J. Eby wrote:

> At 10:32 PM 1/31/2006 -0600, Ian Bicking wrote:
>> Phillip J. Eby wrote:
>>> [back to the Web-SIG]
>>> At 09:39 PM 1/31/2006 -0600, Ian Bicking wrote:
>>>> How do you pass in variables?
>>> environ, or a nested variable therein
>> OK, if you invert that (put the environ in the variables) then you  
>> get...
>> variables, like in the original spec.
> Well, if you're going to include the environ, you're halfway to  
> WSGI, so
> why bother making a new spec?  :)
>>>>   How do you get non-string output?
>>> What kind of non-string output?  For doing what?
>> Like ElementTree output, that you might pipe through other  
>> transformations.
> But how's that a *template* any more, then?
>>>> But there's a kind of templating that occurs in a typical  
>>>> application
>>>> that is much more intimately tied to the calling code, and  
>>>> shouldn't be
>>>> pushed through an HTTP-like interface.
>>> But that HTTP-like interface can be concealed in a library  
>>> wrapper for
>>> systems that don't orient that way, and if you *don't* supply  
>>> such an
>>> interface, then template systems that orient that way are put at a
>>> disadvantage that *can't* be worked around by library wrapping.
>> I just don't get it... why do I care about the status or headers  
>> from the
>> template?
> Because in some frameworks, the template is the resource and it's what
> controls these things.
>>  I don't want the template returning those things.
> And other people do.  Zope 2 certainly wants its templates to be  
> able to
> control such things.  peak.web wants it.  ASP and PHP-style templating
> systems want it.  I'm sure there are others.
>> I probably want the template returning a unicode string.  Providing a
>> content-type would be fine, but hardly important.
> You asked what was wrong with the spec; this is a good example.  It's
> conceived in the context of a very narrow set of frameworks whose  
> paradigms
> differ so little that they might as well be one framework to begin  
> with, at
> least with respect to how they treat templates.
> That's not to say that there's anything wrong with them, just that  
> there is
> a lot of useful diversity in Python web frameworks and I'd prefer  
> not to
> rule out entire *classes* of web frameworks from consideration, just
> because some other ideas are more familiar to some people.
> We should use the wider interface in this case, because it means  
> everybody
> can play.  If you make a variables-to-strings interface, only
> variables-to-strings frameworks and templates can play.  It's
> straightforward to wrap variables-to-strings templates in a trivial  
> interface and to pull string output from a WSGI app (you can, after  
> all,
> just use the body and ignore the headers), but it's not possible to  
> support
> WSGI functionality inside a variables-to-strings paradigm.
> Notice, by the way, that a resources-as-WSGI-apps approach also  
> enables
> approaches like WSGI servers that run templates straight from a  
> directory,
> ASP/PHP-style.  This is just *one* kind of paradigm that's enabled  
> by my
> counter-proposal but isn't practical with the variables-to-string  
> approaches.
> Another paradigm that's enabled: imagine having a "template" whose  
> text is
> actually a Paste Deploy specification.  Now imagine that Zope  
> implemented
> the WSGI-templating proposal using "WSGI Methods" that allowed you to
> select whatever "template engine" you wanted, and allowed editing  
> the text
> through the web.  Now, you could deploy a Paste-based application  
> inside a
> folder in a Zope site!
> So, those are just two ideas I pulled out of my hat for what a
> WSGI-templating spec could permit, that variables-and-strings can't  
> match.
> It's not so much that the vars-and-strings proposal is *wrong* per  
> se, it's
> just that compared to my counterproposal, it just ain't right.  A  
> "good is
> the enemy of the best" scenario is what I'm worried about here,  
> which is
> why even though the TG/B interface is a *good* thing in and of  
> itself, I
> don't want it to get promoted outside its area of expertise.  The  
> Web-SIG
> should put forth a WSGI-based templating API, because it's better  
> for the
> Python web platform as a whole.
> The only cost that I see is disadvantaging frameworks that don't  
> make good
> use of WSGI, and that was always going to be a natural consequence of
> having a standard in the first place.  (i.e., some will always make  
> better
> use of it than others, and the better ones will have a better time  
> of it.)
> _______________________________________________
> Web-SIG mailing list
> Web-SIG at python.org
> Web SIG: http://www.python.org/sigs/web-sig
> Unsubscribe: http://mail.python.org/mailman/options/web-sig/mike_mp% 
> 40zzzcomputing.com

More information about the Web-SIG mailing list